Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Hillary Clinton declared herself the Democratic Party nominee for U.S. president on Tuesday, embracing her role in history as the first woman to lead a major party in a race for the White House.

The former first lady, senator and U.S. secretary of state celebrated her victory in the nominating race over rival Bernie Sanders at a raucous event with supporters in Brooklyn, New York, where Clinton placed her achievement in the context of the long history of the women’s rights movement.

“Thanks to you, we have reached a milestone,” Clinton said in a speech. “We all owe so much to who came before.”

Clinton, 68, spoke shortly after beating Sanders in New Jersey’s nominating contest, expanding her lead in the delegates needed to clinch the nomination and setting up a five-month general election campaign against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election.

New Jersey was one of six states holding contests on Tuesday, including California, the big prize where Clinton was still at risk of an embarrassing loss to Sanders as she heads into the campaign against Trump.

Polls in California closed at 11 p.m. EDT, but news networks said the race was too close to call.

In her speech, Clinton appealed to Sanders supporters to join her and said the Democratic Party had been bolstered by his campaign for eradicating income inequality, which has commanded huge crowds and galvanized younger voters.

By contrast, Clinton harshly attacked Trump for using divisive rhetoric that belittled women, Muslims and immigrants, and took specific aim at his recent condemnation of an Indiana-born judge of Mexican heritage.

“The stakes in this election are high and the choice is clear. Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander-in-chief,” she said.

“When Donald Trump says a distinguished judge born in Indiana can’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage, or he mocks a reporter with disabilities, or calls women pigs, it goes against everything we stand for,” she said.

 

GLASS CEILING

Clinton also won in New Mexico while Sanders, 74, was projected to win in North Dakota. There were no immediate projections in Montana or South Dakota in the final series of big presidential nominating battles that began on Feb. 1 in Iowa. The District of Columbia, the last to vote, holds a Democratic primary next Tuesday.

In a fundraising email to supporters, Clinton declared her campaign had broken “one of the highest, hardest glass ceilings.”

On Twitter, she said: “To every little girl who dreams big: Yes, you can be anything you want – even president. Tonight is for you.”

Clinton’s race against Trump, 69, will unfold as she faces an ongoing investigation of her use of a personal email server while secretary of state. Opinion polls show the controversy has hurt Clinton’s ratings on honesty and trustworthiness.

Clinton now must try to unify the party and win over Sanders supporters after a bruising primary battle. But Sanders, a democratic socialist U.S. senator from Vermont, has vowed to stay in the race until July’s party convention that formally picks the nominee, defying growing pressure from party leaders to exit the race.

Although Sanders will be unable to catch Clinton even if he wins the primary in California, America’s most populous state, a triumph there could fuel his continued presence in the race and underscore Clinton’s weaknesses as she heads into the fight with Trump.

Clinton edged Sanders out, especially among older voters, with a more pragmatic campaign focused on building on President Barack Obama’s policies.

Steven Acosta, a 47-year-old teacher living in Los Angeles, voted for Clinton on Tuesday, saying that was partly because he believed she stood a better chance of winning in November.

“I like what Bernie Sanders says and I agree with almost everything that he says,” Acosta said. “The problem is that I think Republicans would really unify … even more against him.”

 

‘RUSH TO JUDGMENT’

Sanders was determined to stay in the race, even after the Associated Press and NBC reported on Monday night that Clinton had clinched the number of delegates needed to win the nomination. A Sanders campaign spokesman castigated what he said was the media’s “rush to judgment.”

Under Democratic National Committee rules, most delegates to the July 25-28 convention in Philadelphia are awarded by popular votes in state-by-state elections, and Clinton has a clear lead in those pledged delegates.

But the delegate count also includes superdelegates, party leaders who can change their minds at any time. Clinton’s superdelegate support outnumbers Sanders’ by more than 10 to 1.

The Sanders’ campaign has said it can still persuade superdelegates to switch to him, although in practice superdelegates who have announced their intentions are unlikely to change their minds.

Sanders would have to get more than 60 percent of the superdelegates backing Clinton to switch their votes. So far, his campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, acknowledged they had yet to convert a single delegate.

Trump, who became his party’s presumptive nominee last month, outlasting 16 Republican challengers, is struggling to get the party’s leaders solidly behind him after a bitter primary campaign during which he made a series of controversial statements directed at Muslims, Latinos, women and the disabled.

On Tuesday night he addressed a crowd of supporters in New York, welcoming Sanders supporters “with open arms” should they decide to support him and declaring a new phase of the campaign had begun.

“Tonight we close one chapter in history and we begin another,” Trump said.

“I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we are going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons,” he said. “I think you are going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. I wonder if the press will want to attend.”

 

(Writing by John Whitesides; Additional reporting by Amanda Becker, Alana Wise and Megan Cassella in Washington; Jonathan Allen and Chris Kahn in New York; Joseph Ax and Frank McGurty in New Jersey; Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb in California; Editing by Howard Goller)

 

Photo: Hillary Clinton arrives to speak during her California primary night rally held in Brooklyn.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was on CNN Sunday morning with Jake Tapper on his State of the Union show. In part because Democratic reps, like Republican reps, going on Sunday shows is about this coming election, and in part because newscasters are not particularly deep or creative when it comes to talking about politics, Tapper decided to spend a lot of time trying to get Ocasio-Cortez to attack Joe Biden for their differences of political opinions. Newsflash: Ocasio-Cortez, progressive hero, co-author of the ambitious Green New Deal environmental package, and Vice President Joe Biden aren't exactly on the same page as to how to handle climate change.

More to the point, Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez whether or not she was bothered by the fact that Biden has not said he would outright ban fracking. The move to ban fracking in states across the country has been a seesaw battle of fossil fuel interests fighting against progressive environmentalism and science. Biden's refusal to provide full-throated support for a ban on fracking is disappointing to many of us on the left, but it isn't surprising. Even more importantly, it is below the most essential first step the progressive movement—and the country for that matter—needs to take: getting rid of Donald Trump and getting rid of the Republican majority in the Senate.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn't going to be pulled into a pointless argument about fracking with Jake Tapper. Her position is well-reported. So is Biden's. AOC explains very clearly that this is how politics work in a representative democracy.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: It does not bother me. I believe, and I have a very strong position on fracking. You know, the science is very clear, the methane emissions from fracking are up to 64 times more powerful than CO2 emissions and trapping heat in the air, and just from a perspective of stopping climate change there is a scientific consensus. However, that is my view. Vice President Biden has made very clear that he does not agree with the fracking ban and I consider that, you know—it will be a privilege to lobby him should we win the White House but we need to focus on winning the White House first. I am happy to make my case but I also understand he is in disagreement on that issue.

Tapper wonders whether this will depress the youth vote, a vote that AOC represents more closely than Biden. This, of course, is literally the only reason Trump and his surrogates have been bringing up this difference of positions the last couple of weeks. The hope is that it will depress the more progressive vote, while spooking some more conservative-leaning folks in fossil-fuel heavy states like Pennsylvania and Texas. Ocasio-Cortez points out that the youth vote over the past couple of years has not simply become more sophisticated since 2016, it has brought in more progressive candidates and officials into local elections. The turnout in 2018 showed that, and Ocasio-Cortez believes that this election is very clearly a choice between Donald Trump, someone who is a non-starter of a human being, and Joe Biden.

Tapper then plays a clip of Biden telling reporters that he isn't "getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time," but that he's talking about getting rid of the subsidies the fake free-marketeers enjoy in the fossil fuel industry. While Tapper is hoping that this will illustrate how Biden isn't AOC and the youth vote may be turned off by this statement, she sees it as an important step in the right direction.

REP. OCASIO-CORTEZ: When he says we are eliminating subsidies, I think that is, frankly, an important first step. A lot of folks who like to tout themselves as free market capitalists, while still trying to make sure they get as much government subsidy, and propping up of the fossil fuel industry as possible. ... If you do believe in markets, solar and renewable energies are growing less and less expensive by the day in many areas. They are starting to become less expensive than fossil fuels. When you eliminate government subsidies, it becomes more difficult for fossil fuels to compete in the market. I think while the vice president wants to make sure that he is not doing it by government mandate or regulation. I do believe that we are moving towards that future. I believe that there's a way and that we should push that process along but again, the vice president and my disagreements are, I believe, recorded and that is quite all right.